Is German Shepherd Dogs Play Behavior Different?

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Reika GSD/Sheltie: Canine Play Behavior?
Throughout the years I have dealt with literally hundreds of German Shepherd Dogs. Some were fosters and rescues. Others belonged to family friends and still others were my own. Through my experiences I have noticed that GSDs have a very unique play behavior not seen in some other breeds. German Shepherd Dogs use their front legs and paws during play. They may use them to smack around other dogs or they might use them to pin other dogs down. Every GSD that I have come across displays this style of play. Some to a greater extent and others not quite as much, but almost all of them do it when they are excited during play. There may be an exception to that of course as dogs are individuals, but all in all I have come to believe that GSDs have a very rough play style.

This got me to thinking. Do other dog breeds have a certain play behavior that is unique to them? How does your dog initiate play with another dog and how do they interact during play?
I never once claimed that the use of forelegs during play was solely a GSD behavior. I simply stated that the GSD breed has a tendency to initiate play in this manner. I am sure some other breeds initiate play in with the same behavior as well. I also stated that not all GSDs initate play in that specific manner. There are exceptions to any “rule” and dogs are individuals with individualistic and specific mannerisms and traits. The majority of GSDs however do initiate play in the manner stated. But thank-you “Plain Old Facts” for your input on the subject.

Answers and Views:

Answer by ike M
fuck knmows

Answer by scoop
I have a GSD, and I’ve seen exactly what you are talking about! He does it to me too to play, and now it makes sense that all of them do it! Thanks for clearing it up for me!

Answer by Ballin Bichon ♥
It’s not the breed it’s the individual dog. No two dogs are exactly the same…each has their own likes and dislikes, behaviors, and ways of doing things. I see almost every breed use their front paws to smack toys around but only in the larger breeds of dogs. So you may have a point! =]

Answer by Randee TAS
I’ve only had one dog and haven’t seen it in any of the other dogs I’ve encountered, but Zoey will try to push the other dog over to initiate play. She’s slowly getting put in her place by older dogs for doing this, but she’ll walk up, sit, and then push with her paw.
She also seems to like cutting other dogs off at the shoulders and turning them in different direction, but then again, she is a herding breed.

Answer by Xena
Boxers also use their from paws like that. Thats kinda how they got their name. When boxers play , they play rough. They are growling and making all kinds of noises. It sounds like they are fighting , but they are just playing.

Answer by TKS
Yes, Dobermans are a lot like that and will get up on back legs and “spar”. It’s funny to watch my Dobe and Lab play because they have different approaches and ideas of fun.

Answer by tman553
yes my shitzoo acts the same way with other dogs even know she Reilly small.

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  2. Jordie0587 *Diesel's Momma* says

    Dobermans “box” too. I’ve never seen a doberman that didn’t use their paws in play. They are EXTREMELY rough in play and honestly, my dogs have the most fun with other dobermans that can keep up with their rough-housing. At the park I have to be careful that my female Amara doesn’t scare someone by being too rough. She just doesn’t get it why other dogs won’t play like that lol. It’s funny, she always has a paw on someone, even if it’s just resting on their back.

  3. ♥ Liz ♫ says

    My dachshund and the dandie dinmont terriers I had as a child loved to shake their toys as if they were doing what they were bred to do. The cocker I have now shakes her toys as well which to me is not normal cocker spaniel play behavior. All the cockers I have had over the years never shook their toys, but would carry them around and squeeze them to make them squeak. Most of my cockers also loved to encourage me to throw their toys so they could fetch and retrieve….a behavior seen in many sporting dogs as this is what they were bred to do.

  4. Allison C says

    Yes, my dog does that too. They both do. As you know I have two GSD’s of my own, as we have talked before, my dog’s do that also. I don’t know why they do this. Well, I know that they do for play, but I have only had one other TYPE of dog before, so I don’t know about the types of dogs. So, I really don’t think this helped much, but I gave it a shot.

  5. ☼Hello Sunshine☼ says

    My puppy plays like that quite a bit. He uses his paws almost as if he’s a cat, its pretty funny. He gets down on the ground and will lift up the front of his body and swing his front legs around, then jump out like he’s going to give a big hug!

    I don’t see it in a lot of dogs, but now that you mention it, both of my friend’s GSDs play the same way, it’s pretty entertaining watching the two of them go at it!

    Edit: I forgot to add, my dog is a mutt! Part Shiba Inu, which I believe is where his “cattiness” comes from!

  6. animal_artwork says

    Bernese Mtn Dogs hip check or body check.

    Samoyeds tug on ruffs or duck under the body, grab a back foot, pull back and *flip* their opponent.

    Its interesting watching the two breeds play together….

  7. Megan says

    my dog, a chocolate lab, american pit bull mix does that too.. she is so cute hen she does it!
    also, my other dog, a corgi, likes to face away from you wag her stumpy tail and look at you so you chase her.

  8. theAfternooner says

    My dog is a dalmatian/beagle mix. She loves to run. So she typically “hounds” other dogs (barks and barks until they finally give in) into chasing her. My brother has a wolf/white shepherd hybrid so she has learned to play very rough from him. She loves to nip at other dogs necks and wrestle. We have gotten the evil eye from several other dog owners for this one, so I try to teach her not to do it in public, only at home with her “cousin.”

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